Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence (4K UHD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Jan 11, 2022
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence (4K UHD Review)

Director

Alan Smithee (William Lustig)

Release Date(s)

1993 (November 16, 2021)

Studio(s)

Neo Motion Pictures (Blue Underground)
  • Film/Program Grade: B-
  • Video Grade: A+
  • Audio Grade: A+
  • Extras Grade: A+

Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence (Blu-ray Disc)

Buy it Here!

Review

Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence takes one more dip into the well of the concept of a deadly policeman on the loose in New York City. As with the previous film, it again picks up where the story left off. This time around, Cordell is more focused on protecting and reviving an injured female police officer who is wrongly accused of killing innocent people. He feels a kinship with her and decides to take her as his bride. You read that right. Robert Z’Dar returns to the role, as does Robert Davi as Detective McKinney. New to the cast is Jackie Earle Haley, Frank Pesce, Gretchen Becker, Caitlin Dulany, and Barry Livingston. There’s also a couple of one-off appearances by Ted Raimi (no Sam this time around), Robert Forster, and Paul Gleason.

Maniac Cop 3 was also a very troubled production, so much so that William Lustig abandoned the film in the cutting room, forcing producer Joel Soisson and others to go out and fill in the blanks when the film’s running time came in too short. It had been a compromised project from the very start. Larry Cohen’s script featured a new character, a black detective, but one of the key pieces of the financing wouldn’t agree to sign with a black man in the lead. It threw everything into a rewriting and restructuring nightmare. Lustig was forced to bring Robert Davi back against his will and Cohen refused to rewrite the script without being paid for it. The result was a production where Lustig felt wholly unsatisfied, instituting the Alan Smithee credit. It didn’t help that the ratings board eventually slapped the film with an NC-17 rating, forcing further cuts to get it down to an R. It’s fully available today in its intended uncut form, but it was not a happy experience.

Of the two sequels, Maniac Cop 3 strays furthest from its initial concept. The Cordell in this film barely resembles the character as established in the previous two. Having been revived by a voodoo priest and caring for a fellow officer so strongly makes him far more sympathetic, but this is coming after two films in which he slaughters people on both sides of the law. That said, the film still manages to feature some exciting action set pieces. One need look no further than Cordell completely engulfed in flames driving a squad car and chasing the leads for several minutes. It’s not a bad film per se, and knowing now what the filmmakers went through to get it finished, it’s understandable. The fact that anything solid came out of it at all is impressive.

Maniac Cop 3 was shot by director of photography Jacques Haitkin on 35 mm film using Arriflex cameras and lenses, finished photochemically, and presented in the aspect ratio of 2.39:1. Blue Underground brings the film to Ultra HD for the first time with a new 4K 16-bit scan of the original camera negative, color graded for HDR (Dolby Vision and HDR10 are available options). It should be noted that Lustig has tinkered a bit with a couple of small things in the film. During the scenes in the hospital when McKinney is visiting Kate (33:49 to 34:24 and 36:12 to 36:14), the right corner of the screen has been subtly darkened to hide Cordell before he steps into view. Also in the hospital, when Cordell chases down one of the doctors and electrocutes him with defibrillator paddles (40:21 to 40:25), CGI electrical sparks have been added. And finally, during the finale, various shots of Kate’s flaming corpse being carried by Cordell have had CGI flames added to them to hide the face of the obvious dummy (oddly enough, previous shots featuring the same dummy remain untouched).

Regardless of the changes, this is another knockout 4K presentation. New levels of detail are apparent in every shot, with a very fine sheen of grain. The darkened interiors of the “church” lit only by candles that seem to go on forever, the contrasting bright interiors of the hospital, and the detail on Cordell’s uniform and disfigured face are all greatly enhanced. The color palette is more accurate than Blue Underground’s previous Blu-ray release, which leaned towards a blue filtered look. Reds, oranges, and greens are richer with added dimension, thanks in no small part to the new HDR pass. The depth of color and detail in skin tones and textures, particularly in Robert Davi’s face, are all boosted. Blacks are inky deep, appearing natural without any noticeable crush. The optical transitions are the weakest aspect of the presentation, but the image is otherwise stable and clean with enormous clarity.

Audio options include a new English Dolby Atmos track, and English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. The Atmos and 5.1 mixes are similar in terms of placement, but the Atmos mix enhances things a bit more with deeper and louder rear activity, as well as atmospheric moments in the overheads. Dialogue exchanges are clear and discernible, and both mixes offer an abundance of low end. The score benefits the most with deep, cacophonous sections, while sound effects are given plenty of dimension as well. All of the tracks, including the additional stereo track, are excellent options no matter what your setup is. Subtitle options include Danish, Dutch, English HoH, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Blue Underground includes not only the Ultra HD of Maniac Cop 3, but a Blu-ray of the film as well in 1080p sourced from the same new presentation. The extras on both discs are as follows (all in HD):

DISC ONE (UHD)

  • Audio Commentary with Alan Smithee (William Lustig) and Joel Soisson
  • Theatrical Trailer (1:49)

DISC TWO (BD)

  • Audio Commentary with Alan Smithee (William Lustig) and Joel Soisson
  • Wrong Arm of the Law: The Making of Maniac Cop 3 (25:05)
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes: Hospital Hallway (:26)
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes: A Statement (1:13)
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes: Chinese Restaurant (1:56)
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes: Wedding Nightmare (1:49)
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes: Defibrillator (1:34)
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes: Perverted Justice (1:40)
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes: Motives for Murder (1:45)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1:49)
  • Poster & Still Gallery (21 images)
  • Original Synopsis (6 text pages)

In the new audio commentary with director William Lustig and producer Joel Soisson, the two reminisce about their disagreements and parting of the ways during the making of the film. They’re very frank and very open with each other about their experiences, making this a refreshingly honest commentary not dictated by legal departments. All audio commentaries featuring William Lustig are worth listening to, but this has to be one of the more enlightening ones. Wrong Arm of the Law, a brief documentary by Red Shirt Pictures, is also quite blunt and honest about the making of the film. It features interviews with Lustig, Soisson, writer Larry Cohen, actors Robert Z’Dar, Robert Davi, Caitlin Dulany, Gretchen Becker, director of photography Jacques Haitkin, and stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos. The Deleted and Extended Scenes have been restored as well, and although there isn’t much left out of the film that’s missed, there are some moments of intrigue to be had. The rest of the extras include the film’s trailer and two galleries making up 27 stills of posters, home video cover artwork, soundtrack cover artwork, promotional images, and text from Larry Cohen’s original synopsis for the film.

Both discs sit inside a black amaray case with artwork that’s reminiscent of the film’s original VHS release. Everything is house within an embossed slipcover featuring the same artwork.

Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence is definitely the least of the Maniac Cop series overall, but it’s still an entertaining film. Knowing what the original concept was, it’s too bad that things didn’t work out. Blue Underground’s treatment of the film on Ultra HD and Blu-ray will certainly make long-time fans happy as it’s another stellar presentation. Highly recommended.

- Tim Salmons

(You can follow Tim on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook. And be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel here.)

 

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